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Set in World War II, about a beautiful, celebrated opera singer forced to sing the Singspiel before Hitler. Amidst terrible consequences, after heartbreaking conflict and loss, the heroine's voice carries the ultimate message of courage and freedom.
Growing up on a poor farm in Missouri, and learning how to sing opera from her war-scarred father, young Christina Cross has no idea that the powerful forces of good and evil, of music and war, will one day pull her into the maelstrom of World War II, compelling her to make life-or-death decisions about who she is fighting for in her life, and the price that she is willing to pay.
Like a masterful opera, Evensong deftly transports the reader to early 1940's Paris, where Christina and her sister, Nicolette, go to live with their uncle, Philippe Petain. As the Premier of France, he orders her to travel to El Alamein, to sing for and entertain Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi thugs, not realizing that she has been recruited by French underground leader Laurent de Gauvion Saint Cyr, who falls in love with her. Christina refuses to comply with her uncle's order, which angers Hitler, leading to the imprisonment of Nicolette. Laurent tries to free Nicolette, but then learns that Christina has been apprehended and given to one of the angry Nazi officials, who delights in torturing his victims.
Facing death, Christina is forced to sing for her captor, and she chooses a piece that reflects the phenomenal bravery of the members of the French underground, who gave everything in their fight against their German oppressors.
Excerpt © M L St. Sure
On June 16, 1940, Philippe Petain arranged an armistice with Germany and became premier of France. He was now a force in Hitler's war machine, and it came to him that the commandant was studying him carefully like an old master's painting, preparing him for the final plan, the plan that his niece, Christina would become part of. For once, he felt shrewd, brilliant, and lucky. The capital was moved to the city of Vichy, and he was authorized to create a new constitution. Within weeks, he launched a revolution that established fascist political and economic institutions. His government paid heavy financial tribute to the Germans and sent French workers to German. He ordered his troops stationed in North Africa to resist Allied landings, and arranged an opera to be performed for Hitler.
"You should be pleased to sing for the Fuhrer!" Uncle Philippe persisted. "Did you not know that in his youth he sang in the church choir and dreamed of becoming such a singer as yourself?"
"But the singspiel, the German opera?" Christina cried frantically.
"The songs are simple, folk-like. You'll have no trouble learning."
"I have only a week before I leave for El Alamein. I can't possibly learn it in a week!"
"The campaign in North Africa is of utmost importance to the Fuhrer! You cannot disappoint him. You cannot let his men down. Montrose, Goering, Hess, Himmler, Rosenberg, they will all be there. They are weary with war and need distraction. I have spoken of your voice to my Fuhrer, that you sing like a bird, and he is eager to listen."
"In other words, I have no choice."
Uncle Philippe shook his head and squeezed his eyes shut. He knew the wrath of Hitler and could not challenge his order. He had only hoped Christina could live up to his expectations.
Christina took the box of bonbons wrapped in lace that he had offered and walked to her room. She felt her knees go weak and paced the floor like a stricken animal. It was insane to think that she would be singing for Hitler in little more than a week's time. She crawled into bed, and tossed and turned all night. In the morning, she got up and walked to the secretary, sat down, and began to write.
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Author: M.L. St. Sure
M.L. St. Sure has created a haunting melody in the new novel Evensong, as it takes its readers back in time to the terrifying era when Hitler and his cruel army threatened to change the world forever.
Veteran Joseph Cross is simply trying to make a life for his family in the unforgiving farm land of Missouri. Wanting more for his children than he could provide, he trains his daughter Christina to sing the beautiful arias of the opera he himself could no longer sing. When tragedy strikes, young Christina falls back on her training and through the guidance of her benefactor Senator Liam Caradine, sets out to raise her family out of the poverty in which they lived.
Christina soon takes to the stage where her voice will soon be recognized around the world. With her young sister Nicolette, Christina moves to Paris, France to live with her uncle Phillippe Petain. When Hitler's army invades, her uncle becomes the Premier of France and orders Christina to sing and entertain Hitler and his high-ranking Nazi officers. Having already been recruited by the resistance leader Laurent de Gauvion Saint Cyr, Christina refuses to sing, earning the wrath of Hitler.
Christina, with Nicolette by her side, aids the resistance until young Nicolette is kidnapped. It is discovered to everyone's horror that Nicolette has been taken to the dreaded kinder camp, also known as the "Devil's Palace." Laurent risks all, including the very lives of those under his command in a suicidal mission to rescue Nicolette and return her to the sister he has fallen deeply in love with.
Meanwhile during her own attempt to rescue Nicolette, Christina is apprehended and given to an angry Nazi officer known for his cruelty. Realizing who his captive is and her relationship to Laurent, whom he despises, the officer takes great delight in his torture and humiliation of Christina.
Forced to sin for her captors, Christina faces a grave and pivotal decision: sing the Deutchland-Lied, or "Song of Germany," or taken a final stand in her allegiance to the resistance.
Evensong brings to mind a great tragedy. Not only are the cruelties of the Nazi's unveiled and laid bare, but so to the cruelty of a deep love in a tie when love cannot be afforded. This is a moving story, one worthy of the attention of any interested in historical fiction.
The above review was contributed by: Kristin Pace: Kristin is an avid reader and has written book reviews for various publications. She has been involved with Writer's Workshops both as a student and as an instructor.
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A Look Back - Written by Book Critic Lindsey Cook
M. L. St. Sure's New Novel, EVENSONG. A Look Back - Written by Book Critic, Lindsey Cook
Evensong, a new novel by M. L. St. Sure is the story of a historical romance, set in World War II, about a beautiful, celebrated opera singer forced to sing the Singspiel before Hitler. Amidst terrible consequences, after heartbreaking conflict and loss, the heroine's voice carries the ultimate message of couraage and freedom.
Des Moines, Iowa (PRWEB) November 13, 2008 -- With the Iraq War on everyone's mind, sometimes it's a good idea to look back at the past and try and learn some kind of lesson from it. While it's not the original intention of Iowan author M. L. St. Sure, this is exactly what the new book entitled "EVENSONG" accomplishes.
"EVENSONG" is the story of Christina Cross who grew up on a farm in Missouri and learned how to sing opera from her war-scarred father. When her father dies unexpectedly, her mother throws her out of the house.
Christina is forced to try and find a job to support herself; she begins by being a maid in a hotel, but she is discovered by the owner who harnesses her talent and transforms her into an opera singer.
When Christina finds that her younger sister is being abandoned by her older abusive brother and that her mother is drinking, she decides to take her sister and escape to Europe.
Going to live with her uncle, Philippe Petain the premier of France in Paris, Christina immediately finds herself in the mix of World War II politics. When her uncle surrenders Paris and all of France to Hitler, she is forced to sing for the Nazis.
Recruited by French underground leader Laurent de Gauvion in the resistance, Christina begins to realize what is really going on in the war. She does everything she can to help, from caring for orphaned babies to infliltrating a Kinderkamp in Germany.
Christina's journey makes us realize the costs of war and how they affect everyone, no matter what their role is.
A bittersweet story with a heart wrenching ending, "EVENSONG" is a beautifully written novel. St. Sure transports us into the vivid world of the 1940's exploring everything from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high in the world.
Readers become extremely attached to Christina and her sister Nicolette because St. Sure's characters are carefully crafted; they're vivid, interesting and provide different perspectives about what is going on in the world around them. St. Sure makes sure that readers are privy to their loves, hate, vengeances and motivations.
The plot is fast-paced, taking you everywhere St. Sure needs you to go, while holding back on some of the more gruesome details. This is, after all, a story of one person's encounter with the war, not an overview of the war.
The ending, while extremely sad, is appropriate and did not leave me feeling upset at the author, which is surprisingly unlike how other books have left me when faced with similar endings.
At only 214 pages long, the author still finds a way to fit everything that is needed to create a truly remarkable story. A lot of novels about World War II are extremely long with all the detail, while the shorter stories sometimes feel as if they don't have enough information to make you feel fulfilled.
With short chapters and an interesting topic, this is a good read for anyone of any age or gender. It leaves you attached to the book until the very end. A great read that leaves you thinking about life while you're stuck inside on a cold winter day.
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Gut-wrenching, gripping book: EVENSONG
gut-wrenching, gripping book : Evensong(Books)
M.L. St. Sure,
Release date:2007/08/14 October 30, 2008 Byron Kolln#29 REVIEWER for AMAZON.com
In "Briar Rose", author Jane Yolen managed to effortlessly re-shape the classic fairytale of Sleeping Beauty into a haunting metaphor of one woman's miraculous flight from the concentration camps of Poland. Now we have M.L. St Sure's EVENSONG, which sets those dark days of WW2 against a story of powerful sisterly love, the bonds of family and the hypnotic spell of music.
Christina Cross and her sister Nicolette travel to Paris, where they are to live with their Uncle Philippe, the Premier. Unbeknownst to her uncle, Christina is a member of the French Resistance network (and in love with it's leader, Laurent); so when Philippe orders her to travel to El Alamein to entertain the high-ranking Nazi officers, it develops into a situation which could endanger Christina's life and also the lives of her comrades. Refusing to accept her assignment, Christina's punishment is to watch helplessly as her beloved sister Nicolette is imprisoned; shortly before she herself is caught and handed over to one of the most feared and violent Nazi officials...
M.L. St Sure's fictional account of a girl's triumph over Nazi tyranny makes for gripping, page-turning reading. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate all the layers of research which must have been spent, capturing the moods and blackness of this nightmarish period in our still recent past. It's not hard to believe that such a story could indeed have taken place. The characters are realistically drawn; Christina Cross is a wartime heroine you're bound to fall in love with. A fascinating book.
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Reader Reviews for "Evensong"
|Reviewed by Lorri Proctor
|I really enjoyed this book. It is a powerfully told story with vivid and interesting characters. I've read it over and over again and highly recommend it.|
|Reviewed by JMS Bell
|THIS SEEMS TO BE A VERT WELL DONE FANTASTIC FICTIONAL NOVEL OF ROMANCE, SUSPENSE AND INTRIGUE SET IN A A VERY HISTORICAL TIME. GOD BLESS YOU, LOVE, JOYCE * HIS INSPIRATIONS|
|Reviewed by Kevin Ward
|I look forward to reading Evensong. I love historical fiction, particularly from this era. I wish you good fortune and much success with the novel. From the excerpt, it looks like something I could curl up with over a nice, rainy weekend.|
|Reviewed by Paul Judges
|Sounds like a powerful story.|
|Reviewed by M Wallace
|What a haunting story! A time of such evil where fair-haired beauty and talent reigned and where art and music dominated a man filled with hatred. Great story line. Touching. My daughter is an opera singer so this story meant even more to me. Would she sing for Hitler?
Thank you for your work, M. L. St. Sure.